Wednesday, October 8, 2014

The Ripley Ghost Walk

Tonight was trial run time. Larry and I walked the route, pausing to time the stories, thinking about what there was to see and say along the way. I think it's going to be good. Very good.

 We started at the former Alpine Movie Theater that has become in recent years a small performance theater. Think there's a story there? You'd be right. It will give just the right touch to the rest of the evening, I think.

Then we moved on to the courthouse square. Donated by Jacob and Ann Starcher so that Ripley would become the county seat, there have actually been three courthouses here. Can you imagine the drama this place has seen over the years? Murderers, thieves, batterers, happy couples applying for marriage licenses, angry ones getting divorced, lawyers, public defenders, juries, defendants, prosecutors--all these and more have passed through the doors, leaving the echo of their voices, tears and laughter in the very ground on which the building rests. At least one unhappy soul ended his life here; others saw their lives forever changed by the banging of a gavel. Thousands gathered one December day to watch a condemned man ride to the gallows.

Just across the street, stories abound in the row of stores lining Court Street. I never heard about any ghosts here until I started this project but rest assured, there are stories! The lonely lady on the second floor, a bloody knife murder, an old man named Carl, an untimely death--Court Street keeps a bright face on a dark past.

The next phase of the walk took us past historic homes and the old clinic to the Old Settlers Cemetery. Here murderer and murdered rest in the same ground; just across the road, a small run bears the name of a vicious killer; in this quiet place, the earliest of settlers spend eternity along with the young minister for whom the town is named.

And there is more--Civil War stories of lost treasure, a daring raid, a dead soldier.

We finished our evening with dinner at a small restaurant on Court Street, and there is where we heard about Carl, the smelly ghost. We walked outside to find a full moon shedding her light on the dark streets. Perfect.

It's a small town big on stories. I can't wait to tell them.

Ripley Ghost Walk: Friday and Saturday, October 10 and 11, 7:30pm. $10 for adults, $5 for students. Meet in front of the Alpine Theater on Main Street, Ripley. Rain or Shine. Call 304-514-2609 for more information.

Copyright Susanna Holstein. All rights reserved. No Republication or Redistribution Allowed without attribution to Susanna Holstein.

1 comment:

John "By Stargoose And Hanglands" said...

Next time you come over we'll have to check out the Cambridge Ghost Walk; I've never been but I'm told it's an interesting experience. Hope your walk goes well.

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